Lost in the Movies: The Wrestler (LOST IN THE MOVIES podcast #40)

The Wrestler (LOST IN THE MOVIES podcast #40)

Perhaps someday I'll cover Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain, a controversial grand folly which divides most viewers into love/hate camps. I saw it once, years ago, and didn't care for it although I have friends who swear by it as a misunderstood masterpiece. For now, I'm ending my mini-Aronofsky series (part of a larger season in which I cover small groups of films by different directors) with his fourth film, The Wrestler, which was viewed as a comeback by many who disliked The Fountain and as a disappointingly conventional follow-up by many who hungered for that sweeping vision. There's also some thematic irony, as The Wrestler is about as far from a "fountain of youth" as you can get. Just as the sharp, slick bombardment of Requiem for a Dream captures a certain restless, desperate early 2000s zeitgeist, the wildly different aesthetic of The Wrestler ably conveys the numb, weary tail end of the Bush years. If the earlier movie shows the door slamming shut on a generation's youth, this film offers the melancholy cold comforts of middle age. Although the main character is a bit older than the Requiem gang, the world he represents - garish pro wrestling, hair metal, and Nintendo video games pitting his avatar against an evil Iranian - very much provided a backdrop for Gen X's coming of age. In keeping with larger cinematic trends, the generational spotlight also begins to fall on millennials, here represented by the wrestler's daughter who is entering into adulthood while grappling with the traumas and shortcomings of those who preceded her. This period is also evoked by the film's grungy look and handheld camerawork, reflecting the "neo-neorealist" trend in independent art cinema, while its themes and setting (and perhaps even the nature of its ending) recall The Sopranos - itself a quintessential artifact of the era. As a fun bonus, I've included a listener's commentary on connections between Twin Peaks and the WWE storyline from the late nineties; if you too have any feedback on either wrestling or The Wrestler, please let me know.

Subscribe, rate, and review on Apple Podcasts
You can also listen on Pinecast and Spotify
(and most places podcasts are found)


Following (a video essay) by Matt Zoller Seitz
(montage of back-of-the-head tracking shots)

The Wrestler (no 93) by Allan Fish (Wonders in the Dark)


New on the site
Fully updated picture gallery & Top Posts

Previous Darren Aronofsky episodes on Lost in the Movies

No comments:

Search This Blog